Tortillas for Chilli

flour tortillas homemade fajitas
Leftover chilli con carne (or, actually, sin carne, since it was made with Quorn mince but that's another story) is a wonderful thing. Served with rice yesterday, baked potatoes tomorrow and today; fajita-style with some ridiculously simple flour tortillas that I rustled up between creating a muddy building site with playdough, making Darth Vader out of Fimo* and reading the last three chapters of our book together on the sofa. As bread-products go, this is a quick one.
*See below.

It's another of those Baking Mad recipes (and they didn't even ask me this time!) but, I must admit, it turned out so sloppy that I had to add waaaaay more flour to make the dough workable. I'll put my version of the recipe below. My recipe includes a proportion of liquid that worked for me and, also, (importantly, I feel) no oiling of clingfilm.

Tortilla is a flatbread. Being made without yeast gives it the excellent advantage of not requiring rising time. That said, a little time is useful here because dough really does benefit from a rest (don't we all?!)

Whenever we work dough, it sort of clenches up and becomes less flexible. A few minutes' rest allows the dough to relax, allowing the gluten to regain its elasticity. When rolling out the flatbreads you don't have to press and wrestle with the dough: just do it gradually, allowing the dough to relax and become easier to work with.

I have a theory that a little rest before you cook them helps (that's the dough again, but you can rest too, if you like) since the dough will spring up in the pan and gain a lightness that I doubt it could achieve if it were crouched and sulking from your last interaction.

An Easy Meal

I've called this article 'Tortillas for Chilli' but, I hope it goes without saying, you could use these flatbreads with any filling you like. In Mexican cooking, tortillas are wrapped around various fillings to become burritos, enchiladas or fajitas. If you want to understand the differences you can read this but, for the purposes of a speedy meal, I say whip up some tortillas and stuff them with whatever leftovers are in your fridge. Maybe add a little sour cream on top, some grated cheese, salad... and dinner's ready.

You don't even have to pre-assemble the things. Half the fun is surely this:

homemade tortillas

And besides, some people like them plain.

homemade flour tortilla

For the grown-ups, I served up a plate of tortilla, chilli, two types of salad and some grated cheese.

homemade flour tortilla

The children had the same but separated out, so that they could eat bread with cheese and shun the salad. ("I thought you liked apple. And carrot. And lettuce?" "I do. But not mixed." Grrrr.) Separate-ness made it easier to prod the chilli suspiciously for a second day running, too. Anyway...

homemade flour tortilla

Sorry I didn't take any pictures of today's building site, but here's one we made earlier:

playdough building site

You'll be pleased to know that I did get a picture of Darth Vader. Somebody was very excited about it:

In case you're wondering, it's the bust of Darth Vader, lovingly hand crafted and varnished as a birthday present for a friend. But of course, you can see that.

For my part, I have been pleased with my sourdough starter, bubbling happily for once. I made the mistake of suggesting, on Facebook, that this new found bubbliness might have something to do with the arrival of spring (I had seen some crocuses, after all!). Alas, that post prompted the swift return of freezing winds and little flurries of snow. Sorry, yes, that was me. Spoke too soon.

sourdough starter

But I digress. Here's the recipe for the tortillas.


homemade flour tortillas
300g/10 oz/2 cups strong plain flour
1 tsp salt
190ml/6 fl oz/¾ cup water

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and squash them together to make the dough. Let it rest for a few minutes (maybe 15? But who's counting?)

2. Divide the dough into eight pieces and form them into balls. Let these rest for a few minutes (perhaps five this time, but longer wouldn't hurt).

3. Roll the balls into rounds about 15cm across. Remember, if the dough isn't rolling out easily, it needs a little rest again.

4. Cook each tortilla in a hot, ungreased frying pan. I used my cast iron one. They need about 30 seconds on each side.

homemade tortilla

It was tricky to get the tortilla to land flat in the pan but it didn't seem to matter much.

I stacked them up on a plate as I was cooking them and kept them warm in the oven while I found set the table.

homemade tortillas

homemade tortillas

Elsewhere in Freshly Baked Land

bread recipes ebook
I've got to say, I've been working my little socks off getting my shiny new edition of The Recipes ebook to go live. Thank you so much to all those who managed to purchase a copy before the price rise, and thank you even more to the first few people to have hold of the latest edition.

I have, finally, converted all the recipes so you have a choice of grams, ounces or cups. (I will be updating all the recipes on site soon too, it's coming!) Of course, the new edition contains many more recipes than before, as well as a simpler way to access the updates.

To all those who still have the old edition, you can click back to the online version of the book (same link) and now, hey presto! the new version is there for you to view onscreen, download or even print. If that doesn't happen easily for you, ping me an email and I'll sort it.

Needless to say, if you spot any errors, I'd be grateful to know. Many late nights went into this work(!)

What?! Haven't got your copy yet?! Buy it here!

And of course...

You can still get your guide to baking fresh bread in just 20 minutes.

And I'm still here to answer your bread-baking queries.


  1. It helps if you reduce the water a little more and add some oil to the mix (1-3 table spoons of olive oil, for example).

  2. Wow, my recipe for tortillas calls for a fair amount of butter or lard (it was given to me by a friend from Mexico back when I was still trying to eat "fat free" which I have since come to realize is not the way to go). I will have to try out both recipes side by side!

  3. I've been experimenting adding different flours to the basic mix - I guess it's more Middle-East flatbread than Tortilla. The basic additives are Barley Flour and/or Rye Flour - usually more Barley than Rye and not over 25%. You can do it with just Barley as well. It tastes really good.

    The other variant is to add Masa Maseca to white flour at about 10% - which I use for my Pizza dough as well as flatbread.

    For actual Tortillas I use just Masa Maseca on its own and flatten it between cling film under a heavy pot pushed hard down. Usually they turn from a golfball into 10-15cm diameter


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